Soft Dinner Rolls Recipe

You only need 7 ingredients to make these dinner rolls. Flaky, soft, and buttery, these fresh dinner rolls outshine any main dish. If you’re a bread beginner, read this blog post to learn more about the yeast rolls recipe, including how to prep the rolls ahead of time. You can also reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs. 

Dinner rolls in glass baking pan

This recipe is brought to you in partnership with Red Star Yeast.

  • Do you long to bake homemade bread but are too intimidated to start?
  • Does yeast dough send you running for the hills?
  • Do bread recipes seem overly complicated and confusing?

I’m teaching you how to make homemade dinner rolls. These are the best homemade dinner rolls I’ve ever had and it all starts with a straightforward 7 ingredient dough. I make these rolls whenever I get the chance and even brought a pan to our friends who just welcomed a baby. They’re pillow soft with the most delicious flaky and buttery texture. Everyone will demand you bake them on repeat.

And with this recipe, I guarantee you will finally feel confident baking bread. 🙂

Baking with Yeast Guide

Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.

brushing honey butter topping onto dinner rolls in a glass baking pan


Video Tutorial: Dinner Rolls

Let’s start with a video tutorial.


Overview: How to Make Homemade Dinner Rolls

  1. Make the dough. Continue below to learn more about this dough recipe.
  2. Knead the dough.
  3. Cover the dough and let it rise. The dough rises in about 1-2 hours in a relatively warm environment.
  4. Punch down the dough to release the air and shape into rolls.
  5. Let the rolls rise for about 1 hour.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. If desired, brush the warm rolls with a little honey and melted butter for extra flavor.

As shown in the video tutorial, the dough comes together with a mixer. You can use a paddle attachment or a dough hook. You can also make the dough by hand, but it requires a bit of arm muscle. After the dough comes together in the mixing bowl, it’s time to knead. You can simply continue beating the dough with the mixer for this step or you can knead the dough by hand. I chose to knead the dough by hand so you can see me doing it.

If you’re interested, I provide further detail about kneading in my Baking with Yeast Guide. (Which, by the way, is a wonderful resource for all bread beginners!)

Dinner roll yeast dough in mixer

Soft Dinner Rolls Require a Rich Dough

The crustier and chewier the bread, the less fat in the dough. This is known as a lean dough. The softer and richer the bread, the more fat in the dough. This is known as a rich dough. Unlike chewy bagels, focaccia, and my artisan bread, soft dinner rolls require a rich dough. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that the dough is swimming in cash. Rather, “rich” correlates with the amount of fat. For example, this dough has milk, butter, and egg.

You need 7 ingredients total. They’re the same ingredients in my easy cinnamon rolls, which is also a rich dough. (Though I use more sugar for sweeter cinnamon rolls, of course.)

  1. Milk: Liquid activates the yeast. For the softest dinner rolls, use whole milk. Nondairy or low fat milks work too, but whole milk produces phenomenal flavor and texture.
  2. Yeast: You can use active dry yeast or instant yeast. If using active dry yeast, the rise times will be a little longer. I recommend Red Star Platinum Superior Baking Yeast, which is an instant yeast blended with natural dough improvers.
  3. Sugar: Sugar feeds the yeast, increases its activity, and tenderizes the dough.
  4. Egg: 1 egg provides structure and flavor.
  5. Butter: Butter promises a flavorful and soft dinner roll. Make sure it’s room temperature.
  6. Salt: You can’t make flavorful bread without salt!
  7. Flour: You can use all-purpose flour or bread flour in this recipe. All-purpose flour is convenient for most, but bread flour produces chewier dinner rolls. There are no other changes to the recipe if you use bread flour.

Once you make the dough, let it rise:

2 images of dinner rolls yeast dough in a glass bowl and formed into a ball

After that, punch down the risen dough. Shape into balls and arrange in a baking pan. Don’t worry if they’re not all uniform in size.

Let the shaped rolls rise before baking. Look how puffy they get after 1 hour of rising:

2 images of shaped dinner roll dough in baking pan before and after rising

How to Shape Dinner Rolls

You can shape this dough many different ways including twisted rolls, knotted rolls (how I shape garlic knots), cloverleaf rolls, or even hot dog buns. Let’s stick with the basic round shape. Divide the dough into 14-16 pieces. Take a piece and stretch the top of the dough while pinching and sealing the bottom. I do this entirely in my hands and you can watch in the video tutorial above. Some video tutorials show rolling the dough into a ball on the counter. Whichever way you choose, make sure the rolls are smooth on top and sealed on the bottom. I shape hot cross buns the same exact way.


How to Make Yeast Rolls Ahead of Time

The rolls require around 3 hours of rising. Not everyone has 3 hours to spare, so let’s discuss another option! Prepare the dough, let it rise, and shape the rolls. Cover the shaped rolls tightly and refrigerate for up to about 16 hours. At least 3 hours before you need them the next day, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and allow to rise on the counter for about 1-2 hours before baking.

And here’s how to freeze dinner rolls: Follow the make-ahead instructions and instead of refrigerating overnight, freeze the rolls in a baking pan. Once frozen, they won’t stick together anymore and you can place them in a freezer bag. Let them thaw and rise for about 4-5 hours, then bake. You can also freeze the baked dinner rolls. Therefore, if you want a smaller batch, you can make the entire recipe and bake only a few fresh rolls at a time.

These make-ahead options are especially helpful if you want fresh-baked rolls for Easter brunch, Thanksgiving dinner, or on Christmas.

Dinner rolls

Dinner rolls in 9x13 inch glass baking pan

Dinner Roll Flavors

How about some pizazz? Mix in these ingredients when you add the flour.

  1. Rosemary Dinner Rolls – 2 Tablespoons fresh or dried chopped rosemary.
  2. Cheddar Dinner Rolls – 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Other cheese varieties work, but avoid super soft cheeses.
  3. Garlic & Herb Dinner Rolls – 2 teaspoons each: dried rosemary, dried basil, & dried parsley, along with 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
  4. Whole Wheat Rolls – Here is my Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls recipe.
  5. Multigrain Rolls – Here is my Multigrain Bread recipe that you can turn into rolls.

This dough is not ideal for a big loaf of bread. Instead, I recommend using a leaner dough, such as my sandwich bread recipe.


3 Success Tips

  1. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide, which answers many common yeast FAQs.
  2. Make sure your yeast isn’t expired. Expiration date is on the package.
  3. Directly from the pros at Red Star Yeast: Measuring flour correctly is key to avoiding a dense dough, which leads to heavy (not soft!) rolls. Spoon and level your flour, do not scoop it out of the package.

My final piece of advice? Don’t limit these rolls to suppertime. They’re welcome anywhere, with any meal, any time of day. Use for sliders, breakfast sandwiches, soaking up your favorite tomato sauce, alongside salad, or dunking into a bowl of creamy chicken noodle soup. Above all, don’t doubt yourself because you, too, can become a bread baking pro.

close up of dinner rolls in a basket

Print
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Dinner rolls in glass baking pan

Soft Dinner Rolls Recipe

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 14-16 rolls
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

You only need 7 ingredients to make these dinner rolls. Flaky, soft, and buttery, these fresh dinner rolls outshine any main dish. See recipe notes for freezing and overnight instructions. You can also reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs. 


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk, warmed to about 110°F
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Platinum yeast (1 standard packet)
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour or bread flour (spoon & leveled)*
  • optional topping: 2 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter mixed with 1 Tablespoon honey

Instructions

  1. Prepare the dough: Whisk the warm milk, yeast, and 1 Tablespoon of sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes. *If you do not own a stand mixer, you can do this in a large mixing bowl and in the next step, mix the dough together with a large wooden spoon/rubber spatula. It will take a bit of arm muscle. A hand mixer works, but the sticky dough repeatedly gets stuck in the beaters. Mixing by hand with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula is a better choice.*
  2. Add the remaining sugar, egg, butter, salt, and 1 cup flour. With a dough hook or paddle attachment, mix/beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the remaining flour. Beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. If the dough seems too wet to a point where kneading (next step) would be impossible, beat in more flour 1 Tablespoon at a time until you have a workable dough, similar to the photos and video above. Dough should be soft and a little sticky, but still manageable to knead with lightly floured hands.
  3. Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 3 full minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 3 full minutes. (See video tutorial above if you need a visual of kneading dough by hand.)
  4. 1st Rise: Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a relatively warm environment for 1-2 hours or until double in size. (I always let it rise on the counter. Takes about 2 hours. For a tiny reduction in rise time, see my answer to Where Should Dough Rise? in my Baking with Yeast Guide.)
  5. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan or two 9-inch square or round baking pans. You can also bake the rolls in a cast iron skillet or on a lined baking sheet.*
  6. Shape the rolls: When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Divide the dough into 14-16 equal pieces. (Just eyeball it– doesn’t need to be perfect!) Shape each piece into a smooth ball. I do this entirely in my hands and you can watch in the video tutorial above. Arrange in prepared baking pan.
  7. 2nd Rise: Cover shaped rolls with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise until puffy, about 1 hour.
  8. Adjust oven rack to a lower position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). (It’s best to bake the rolls towards the bottom of the oven so the tops don’t burn.)
  9. Bake the rolls: Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top, rotating the pan halfway through. If you notice the tops browning too quickly, loosely tent the pan with aluminum foil. Remove from the oven, brush with optional honey butter topping, and allow rolls to cool for a few minutes before serving.
  10. Cover leftover rolls tightly and store at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Prepare recipe through step 6. Place shaped rolls in a greased baking pan, cover tightly, and freeze for up to 3 months. Once frozen, the dough balls won’t stick together anymore and you can place them in a freezer bag if needed. On the day you serve them, arrange the dough balls in a greased baking pan, cover tightly, then let them thaw and rise for about 4-5 hours. Bake as directed. You can also freeze the baked dinner rolls. Allow them to cool completely, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then reheat as desired. If reheating the whole pan, lightly cover and reheat in a 300°F (149°C) oven for about 10 minutes or until warm.
  2. Overnight Instructions: Prepare the recipe through step 6. Cover the shaped rolls tightly and refrigerate for up to about 15 hours. At least 3 hours before you need them the next day, remove the rolls from the refrigerator, keep covered, and allow to rise on the counter for about 1-2 hours before baking. Alternatively, you can let the dough have its 1st rise in the refrigerator overnight. Cover the dough tightly and place in the refrigerator for up to about 15 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and allow the dough to fully rise for 2 more hours. Continue with step 5.
  3. Baking Pan: I prefer baking the rolls in a glass 9×13 inch baking pan because I find they brown a little too quickly in metal. As long as you bake the rolls on a lower oven rack and keep your eye on them, any pan is great.
  4. Yeast: Red Star Platinum yeast is an instant yeast. You can use Red Star Yeast active dry yeast instead. Rise times will be slightly longer using active dry yeast. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
  5. Flour: You can use all-purpose flour or bread flour. All-purpose flour is convenient for most, but bread flour produces chewier dinner rolls. The rolls are still soft and fluffy no matter which you use. Either flour is fine and there are no other changes to the recipe if you use one or the other.

Adapted from Homemade Bread Bowls and Honey Butter Rolls

Keywords: bread, rolls, yeast rolls

 

This post is sponsored by Red Star Yeast. Thank you so much for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction and the brands I genuinely love.

911 Comments

  1. Hi Sally,
    Do you think these could work as burger buns if I shaped them larger and spaced them further apart? If so, how should I adjust baking time?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Olga! These will make very light and fluffy hamburger buns and we fear they wouldn’t support the meat very well. Though you can still certainly try it: simply divide the dough into 8 pieces and keep everything else the same. You may want to try this bread bowls dough instead. Let us know if you give either a try!

      1. Thank you for the quick reply! My son loves those King’s Hawaiian burger buns so I’m trying to find a homemade option. That is a good point about these potentially being too soft to hold a burger. I’ll report back if I end up trying it!

    2. I used this recipe for burger rolls, I noticed the buns were a bit small so I made some homemade burgers sized to fit on the rolls.. they were like perfect little sliders!

      The only problem I have with this recipe is I always need to add at least 100g more flour as the dough is just way too sticky to knead

  2. This recipe was super easy and absolutely delicious. The honey butter was truly the best part. Thank you!

  3. I made these today and WOW. They came out phenomenal. I live in higher altitude (Denver) so I added 1 tablespoon of water and that seemed to help with the dryness. I’m just brushed with regular salted butter. They are so fluffy! Thank you for this outstanding recipe, there are two very happy people in my house tonight.

    1. So this might not matter but one thing for me that made a huge difference for me was an oven thermometer. I finally got one, why I didn’t have one, I don’t know. Thinking our oven is new, it can’t be off. Well my oven is 30 degrees off or more no matter how much I let it preheat.

  4. The best dinner rolls recipe that I have ever tried. The dough was rose nicely. My husband just said “wow, looks beautiful and sooo good”. Next time, I will cut down the butter and honey in half as I had leftover this time. Thank you for the perfect recipe

  5. Ellie Dangelo says:

    These came out delish….very buttery.
    Ellie

  6. Just made this and oh wow they turned out so soft and fluffy and perfect! Substituted the dry yeast with roughly 17 grams of fresh yeast, dry yeasts have a tendency to hate me :’D (or i just never get the liquid temp right, even after a million tries)
    Anyways, thank you for the recipe! Will definitely make these again.

  7. My first time making buns and they came out perfectly 🙂 I keep coming back to this recipe every couple of weeks!

  8. I’ve tried thousands of dinner rolls recipes. And this one was hands down the best recipe I’ve tried. I made it tonight for the first time, and the dinner rolls came out perfect and so soft. I definitely recommend this recipe

  9. If I am going to bake the rolls and then freeze them should I still put the honey butter on after they come out of the oven or wait until I thaw and warm them for eating?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Evie, we’d recommend waiting to add the honey butter until you thaw and warm the rolls for eating. Hope you enjoy these!

  10. I can’t believe how good these look and taste. I’m delighted with the result!

  11. This looks amazing! Do you have any recommendations for egg substitutes?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ananya, we have very little experience with egg free baking recipes and the best egg replacements to use. If you try anything, let us know how it goes! We do have a section on our website with naturally egg free baking recipes —- ones where eggs aren’t really needed. We hope you find some to enjoy!

    2. You can usually get away without the egg, but you will need to replace the eggs liquid volume for proper Hydration ratio (the egg is there for enrichment/flavor but also as part of the moisture content). Replace the egg with between 3-4 tbsp water or milk. To ajust for the change in flavor add 1-2 tsp of olive oil.

  12. Anthony Maiello says:

    So I have both bread flour and all purpose flour. Does one taste any better than the other or is the texture different?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Anthony, bread flour produces chewier dinner rolls, but the rolls are still soft and fluffy no matter which you use. Up to you!

  13. Hi, whenever I use yeast I always need significantly more flour than the recipe calls for to get the dough to pull away from the bowl. Why is this?

  14. When I measured 3 cups of flour and checked the weight was about 100g short. Closer to 4 cups. Perfect. Delicious and will make them again.

  15. Terry Moore says:

    We love your recipes! Just made these for Easter dinner. I did have to add about 4-5 tbs to the dough. Otherwise it wouldn’t have been manageable – wet sticky. I’m now worried that it should have been very sticky. When you say add 1 TBS at a time, is it common to need that many additional TBS? I will know when they come out of them oven

    1. Hi Terry, there are so many variances when it comes to making homemade bread dough including weather, humidity, temperature, brand of flour, using a mixer vs hand mixing, etc. It’s completely normal to have to add more flour to make a workable dough and adding about 4-5 Tbsp isn’t out of the ordinary. Remember that the dough should still be soft, so don’t add too much.

      1. Thank you Sally! They turned out wonderfully! I think I could have added a bit more flour without there being a negative impact. Clammy is probably better than sticky wet!

  16. I made these for our Easter Dinner. I followed Sally’s instructions exactly— and they were absolutely incredible, and the family agreed. Thank you, thank you for making me look like a better baker than I actually am!

  17. I would refrigerate them to slow down any more possible rising.

    1. Anthony Maiello says:

      Thanks very much! They were amazing!!!

  18. Karin Singletary says:

    I just finished making these rolls, and they turned out great! I made them with bread flour, and they are soft, buttery, and utterly delicious! Thank you!

  19. These are the best rolls followed the recipe exactly and turned out amazingly soft and delicious. I think I may have been over working my dough all these years two min did the trick.

  20. Used unsweetened almond milk, turned out great.

  21. These were so good. I brought them to Easter dinner (with my COVID-bubble family) and they were a huge hit. So, so soft. We used the honey-butter glaze (as my friend put it – “Honey-butter is never optional” and so glad that we did.

  22. Delicious! Followed the recipe exactly and shaped into 24 smaller rolls. Really great flavor and texture.

  23. I am 58 years old and have never been able to make dinner rolls successfully… until now! I followed the recipe to a T, and also watched the video. Guess it’s never too late to learn something new. Thank you!

  24. Moulshri Mohan says:

    This was such a great recipe, and so simple!

  25. Aaron Stanwick says:

    5/5

  26. Pamela Lovett says:

    Thanks so much Sally these rolls are awesome !!!!!! Tried several other recipes for dinner rolls but this one is the greatest. Thanks again

  27. Easy to make and tasty to eat. Followed the recipe completely. However, for the 1st rise, I did put the dough in my oven with the light on. My kitchen is cold…
    I baked four and froze the rest. Fingers crossed they come out as well as the first batch!

  28. ANITA BROADY says:

    I followed the recipe to the “t” and mine came out like a biscuit. It was a good biscuit but nonetheless a biscuit. I’m not sure what went wrong. I looked for a “contact me” link on Sally’s website that would allow me to chat with her about this but may have missed it. Something went wrong and I’m a brand new bread maker so I’m a bit discouraged about this especially after reading everyone else’s reviews.

    1. Hi Anita, would be happy to troubleshoot with you. How did the dough rise? I’m concerned the yeast wasn’t active. You can email us anytime at [email protected]

  29. theresa fox says:

    I’ve try many times to make these, my mom never showed me, so I got me red star yeast , and I finally got this right,, thank you for posting this recipe online, proud of my self for not giving up on this,, and great thanks to sally’s baking tips,, yummmm homemade rolls

  30. i never leave reviews but i’ve gotta say this was the perfect recipe! i struggle to make soft rolls but this was so amazing and quick and simple! i ate about 3 rolls and could’ve had more! 100000% recommend!!

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